The Year of Magical Thinking ePUB ✓ of Magical

The Year of Magical Thinking ePUB ✓ of Magical An act of consummate literary bravery, a writer known for her clarity allowing us to watch her mind as it becomes clouded with grief From one of America s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience a portrait of a marriage and a life, in good times and bad that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or childSeveral days before Christmas , John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support Days later the night before New Year s Eve the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of forty years was over Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center to relieve a massive hematomaThis powerful book is Didion s attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness about marriage and children and memory about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself Like Johnny Rotten said during their last in the universe where they never would re form again in the mid 90 s show, Do you ever feel like you ve been cheated I do Johnny, I do I feel cheated by this book I bought it because it cost me a dollar I wasn t interested in it that much I finally picked it up to read because I wanted to write a review about how pathetic and whiny it was I thought I d say something about how now that baby boomers are starting to kick the bucket they want a fuc Like Johnny Rotten said during their last in the universe where they never would re form again in the mid 90 s show, Do you ever feel like you ve been cheated I do Johnny, I do I feel cheated by this book I bought it because it cost me a dollar I wasn t interested in it that much I finally picked it up to read because I wanted to write a review about how pathetic and whiny it was I thought I d say something about how now that baby boomers are starting to kick the bucket they want a fucking monopoly on death too, as if they invented grieving and no one before them could have possibly grieved like they do Or maybe point out that we really don t need another memoir about someone dying and the way that the surviving family member found some shallow platitude to be true and now feels the need to share it i.e., Everyone said life goes on, but I had to cry for awhile and then write a three hundred page book making it seem like I was the first person in the history of the whole world to have a parent die before realizing that hey it s true , and life does go on especially with the nice advance I got from the book deal Thank you Random House But no, I don t get to attack Joan Didion And part of me so wanted to Instead of finding her whiny, or annoying, or exploitive or whatever I find that I have quite a bit of respect for her Other s apparently have had trouble with some of the name dropping that Didion does Yes she does a lot of name dropping, her and her late husbands friends happen to be house hold names if you re household is bookish, maybe yours isn t, and there is nothing wrong with that And maybe she does name drop the names of expensive hotels and restaurants she normally at in with her John Gregory Dunne, and maybe some people would rather have elaborate descriptions of the decor of these places then her just saying she ate there, or details about what so and so said at her husbands funeral, and not just that he or she spoke at it But that s missing the point and if she had done that I would have been or so happy because I d be writing a review right now about the banality of memoirs and their narcissistic egoism that only serves to make the author and publisher some dollars Instead Didion is really investigating and putting to paper the way that memory and perception work under the duress of grief The snapshots of memory of a loved one don t necessarily contain any details about the table clothes of a favorite restaurant, but the place itself, it s name where it was located is a memory land mine of the deceased, waiting to go off and spiral out to other memories at it s mere mention This book deals with the irrational element of grief so well It captures the mundane little things that can emotionally paralyze a person, and it s written from that place which our society would rather not acknowledge and that people should just get over , and there is no happy ending to the book, there is no climatic cathartic moment.I ve lost where I was going I think Oh well You might think of me as a cynic If you re being kind, that is I m the one that says Seriously when being told of some tragic event like someone would actually make up the horrific thing I m the one that views the whole process of death the telling, the grieving, the service of any kind, the after as playing out like I m in a soap opera bubble Which camera should I look into when I break down again Strike one against me.Strike Two I ve never been much of a fan of Joan Didion I You might think of me as a cynic If you re being kind, that is I m the one that says Seriously when being told of some tragic event like someone would actually make up the horrific thing I m the one that views the whole process of death the telling, the grieving, the service of any kind, the after as playing out like I m in a soap opera bubble Which camera should I look into when I break down again Strike one against me.Strike Two I ve never been much of a fan of Joan Didion I think it began in college being forced to read Why I Write and On Keeping a Notebook I didn t enjoy being told, essay like, how I should go about writing It s not my thing That didn t help that urge to rebel that goes along with college either My Didion backlash was further proven when Up Close and Personal came out Wait, you want to add Jessica Savitch to the list Awww Hell no It just wasn t happening Strike Three Maurice bought this for me a few Christmases ago I winced, like I usually did when receiving a book from him Must I relive the college debacle I can t just NOT read it, because he WILL grill me on it Buck up, Kim read the damn thing already This was 5 years ago and I just recently found it in the back of the bookshelf I did end up reading it then and I thanked Maurice time and again for giving me such a gift Because, that s what it truly was Words can hold such extraordinary power So, here s an enigma Can cynics really believe in magical thinking What is magical thinking anyway I mean yeah, I ve read the Psychology Today articles, I ve gone to freedictionary.com Is it something that can actually be described or do you need to experience to fully get it Talk to me See, because now I m either going crazy or I m seeing the signs I m remembering in distorted ways did that really happen or is my head just trying to make me believe am I replaying the events because I m looking for clues Maurice is dead I can type that I can be matter of fact about it via keyboard Hell, I can put it in a damn book review But, you get me to actually SAY the words and I m using the ol Maurice has passed , Maurice is gone , anything but the D word Like it may make it less real In the midst of life we are in death Not just some awesome Smiths lyrics but a common graveside prayer and the rest Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust Still looking for clues As I m reading the first few pages of TYOMT again, I m struck at how similar the process isLater I realized that I must have repeated the details of what happened to everyone who came to the house in those first weeks, all those friends and relatives who brought food and made drinks and laid out plates on the dining room table for however many people were around at lunch or dinner time, all those who picked up the plates and froze the leftovers and ran the dishwasher and filled our I could not yet think my otherwise empty house even after I had gone into the bedroom our bedroom, the one in which still lay on a sofa a faded terrycloth XL robe bought in the 1970s at Richard Carroll in Beverly Hills and shut the door Those moments when I was abruptly overtaken by exhaustion are what I remember most clearly about the first days and weeks I have no memory of telling anyone the details, but I must have done so, because everyone seemed to know them This book is full of this type of sameness Two peas in a pod, Joan and I I may not be keeping his shoes because when he comes home he might need them like Joan but I m still hanging on to that bottle of Moxie in the fridge I m still wondering if him telling me that morning that he wanted to hear my voice because it soothed him was really him telling me that I should have what What could I have done Joan has other tragedies memories that stretch out to before I was born She is insightful in such creative, tenacious, concise ways that sometimes I just want to curse her for bringing me there for making me believe and start to question every action memory event of the last 20 years looking for the damn signs because they were there, right In the midst of life we are in death Don t fucking forget that I hated this book It is the reason I instituted my 100 pages policy if it s not promising 100 pages in, I will no longer waste my time on it So within the 100 pages I did read, all I got from Didion was that she and her husband used to live a fabulous life and they know a lot of famous people She spoke of the 60s as a time when everyone was flying from LA to San Francisco for dinner Um, no, actually, everyone wasn t doing that then and they re not doing it now Instead of saying ou I hated this book It is the reason I instituted my 100 pages policy if it s not promising 100 pages in, I will no longer waste my time on it So within the 100 pages I did read, all I got from Didion was that she and her husband used to live a fabulous life and they know a lot of famous people She spoke of the 60s as a time when everyone was flying from LA to San Francisco for dinner Um, no, actually, everyone wasn t doing that then and they re not doing it now Instead of saying our friend so and so gave the eulogy at my husband s funeral, she said, The great essayist David Halberstam What does that add to the story I found only brief spots of actual grief for Didion s husband and daughter, but they weren t enough to overpower my loathing for the author and her self importance Disclaimer Being fresh into the grieving process myself, you may want to skip this review and head onto others Undoubtedly I ll purge my grief in a review about a book on grief You ve been warned Right off the top I will say this for the book raw, powerful, honest, amazing If you have any interest in the grief process, READ THIS BOOK The only criticism that I might have is that there s a lot of name dropping Insert famous names and some fancy locations Beverly Hills, Malibu , talk about Disclaimer Being fresh into the grieving process myself, you may want to skip this review and head onto others Undoubtedly I ll purge my grief in a review about a book on grief You ve been warned Right off the top I will say this for the book raw, powerful, honest, amazing If you have any interest in the grief process, READ THIS BOOK The only criticism that I might have is that there s a lot of name dropping Insert famous names and some fancy locations Beverly Hills, Malibu , talk about using fine china, fancy bathrobes from some store I ll never set foot in Normally, that would drive me mad rich or poor, like that one book says, everybody poops However, I never felt with her that the name dropping was pretentious, or snobbish The people and places she named were simply a part of her life, so who am I to hold that against her Wealth, while it may provide many a luxury, cannot insulate you from death, from grief Who said death was the great equalizer It is, truly Didion s husband died very suddenly of a heart attack My mother died weeks ago slowly of cancer Very different circumstances The link is the loss Didion writes this about death after a long illness experienced with others in her lifeIn each of those cases the phrase, after a long illness would have seemed to apply, trailing its misleading suggestion of release, relief, resolution Yet having seen the picture impending death in no way deflected, when it came, the swift empty loss of the actual event I mostly agree with her But in full disclosure, there was relief for me I would not have to watch my mom waste away for weeks MONTHS in a nursing home Release Yes and no Resolution No way After my mom died, I heard multiple times how very strong I was What I was supposed to be doing, what should I be saying Did they think I was callous for not weeping at the funeral Did they think I was putting on a front Truth be told, my grieving began 18 months prior, the minute the surgeon came out and told me she had small cell lung cancer I knew what that meant for her death My grief began then, at that moment It continued each time we d go to chemo or when she needed a blood transfusion It continued when she lost her hair It continued when tumors spread onto the nerves of her arm and she could no longer use it not to put on earrings, not to hold a cup, not to pick up her grandson One night, after having dinner at her house, I wept the entire way home, realizing that the number of meals she d make for me were limited I knew what was coming When she died, even though I saw it coming, it was there, just as Didion says, the swift empty loss She writes about her own personal grieving process, her struggles to resolve his death in her mind She writes of how very unique it is to each situation, loss of a parent versus the loss of a spouse These sentences ring very true Grief, when it comes, is nothing we expect it to be.Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it Didion writes about the concept of grief crashing or rolling in like waves Lots of psychologists speak of it The coping information Hospice sent me also mentioned waves of grief For me, waves isn t quite right I ll call them grief grenades Waves you can see, you can hear, you feel them building and you can tell when they ll break My grief grenades have hit at moments when I least expect it Examples walking in the store and seeing my mom s favorite brand of cookies prominently displayed on the endcap Hearing on the news that 58 year old so and so died after a battle with cancer Deciding to purge out e mail contacts, I see her name Hospice calling on my birthday to see how I am holding up, instead of a call from her, singing Happy Birthday off key Swift empty loss In one part of the book Didion writes of getting rid of clothing that belonged to her husband She cannot bring herself to part with his shoes, in case he needs them when he comes back magical thinking, indeed There were things of my mom s I could not part with Silly things For instance, I kept a pair of her earrings that I had longed to throw away for the last few years They were cheap, old clip ons, so worn that the color had been rubbed off half the surface I d get so pissed when she wore them Did she not see that they were worn out and looked tacky as hell However, those earrings I have saved in a small box of other things that will remind me of her Mind you, I m certain she s not coming back I saw her die I dressed her body Her cremated remains sit 3 feet away from me on a shelf until we have a beautiful summer day and I can place her ashes into the water at the lake But I cannot bring myself to get rid of these things those damn earrings her favorite coffee cup bright yellow sunshine cup purchased on a trip she took to Florida , a potato masher from 1972, the nightgown she wore often in the weeks before she died a pair of her jeans, ironed, of course, with the crease down the front Unlike Didion, who could live among the things that belonged to her husband, I had to empty my mom s apartment After her death, I immersed myself in this task Some of it was easy Trash out Food that I won t use to food bank I set up boxes for her brothers, sisters and mom, things she wanted them to have, things I thought they d like to have as mementos Then it gets tricky All the furniture, boxes of clothes, the toaster I did not want to end up on an episode of Hoarders I tried to be practical and donate what I could, but there is still a corner in my basement full of her things A friend of mine said her garage is still full of her mother s things 5 years later When the last item of her furniture was lugged out of the apartment, I watched them load it into a truck and I sat in her empty apartment and wept I wept as I shut the door for the last time Didion on the other hand, comes home, sleeps in the same bed, sees his chair, his stuff, always there A year after she dies, she goes to the chair where he took his last breath, and looks at the pile of books and magazines he d been thumbing through prior to his death How does that mess with your grief process Does it make it easier Worse In my mind as I moved things out I could say I was simply moving her into a new apartment Magical thinking Didion kept her husband s shoes Magical thinking For us, and for those we love who are grieving, it is so very important to recognize and appreciate the fact that we all grieve in a unique fashion Didion points to literature on proper grieving etiquette, how our culture expects us to behave, even giving us time lines for the process be stoic take a year and then get on with it, already Many great minds have discussed the process of grief leading to resolution, healing It s not that simple If I may quote another author, Anne Lamott You will lose someone you can t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved But this is also the good news They live forever in your broken heart that doesn t seal back up And you come through It s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp A year after she loses her husband, Didion has not found resolution She worries about his memory fading in her mind, of not keeping him alive She writesI know why we try to keep the dead alive we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead., let them go, keep them dead Let them become the photograph on the table Let go of them in the water In other words, resolution may never come, but we must learn to dance with the limp

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